Whitney Johnson has been named the new assistant director of community partnerships for Virginia Tech's Center for Student Engagement and Community Partnerships.

The center, created in 2008, focuses on service, encouraging the university community to view service as an ongoing commitment rather than a one-shot volunteer event. Johnson comes to the center from the Roanoke City Department of Social Services, where she worked as a benefit program specialist. She worked to help people with low incomes and other vulnerable populations with their energy expenses.

She also worked with AmeriCorps on programs dealing with building houses and coordinating community gardens.

“Her experiences with AmeriCorps allowed her to develop her interests in social issues such as anti-poverty programs, prison reform, and health care – providing a valuable background for her work here,” says James Dubinsky, the center’s director.

Johnson received her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Boise State University and received her master’s of public administration and nonprofit management from the University of Colorado.

Johnson will focus on VT-ENGAGE — an initiative to encourage volunteerism among Virginia Tech students, faculty, staff and alumni — and events related to the Seasons of Service Initiative. Started in 2010, the initiative is designed to help students, faculty, and staff incorporate service into their lives all year long.

“I’m looking forward to working closely with students and with the wonderful staff here at the center,” Johnson says “The center has a very important role at Virginia Tech. I am honored to take on the responsibility and excited to reach more students and do great things for this community.”

She adds: “I know there are students, faculty, and staff on the Virginia Tech campus who are passionate about service, have great ideas, and just need some support to make those ideas a reality. I’m looking forward to providing that support and building stronger relationships with our community partners. I also hope to help in developing additional remembrance programs and maintaining those that are already established.”

Johnson says she is looking forward to becoming more involved in the Virginia Tech community. She lives in Blacksburg with her husband, Derick, and cat, Finley.

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